Sami is a lucky guy, at least according to his friends. Born in Kampala, Uganda Sami has lived in Egypt, Kenya the UK and South Africa. He’s a self-confessed nomad with a passion for both the old and new. Sami now lives in New York.
“I woke up one day and realised that this was my life. I always thought I’d follow the straight and narrow but that got boring real quick.” (Sami spent two years working at IBM in Johannesburg). “I’m still the new kid around here but so far so good.”
Sami began his television career by accident he says: “One day I decided to cut class and ended up at my first audition”. Since then it’s been a non-stop rollercoaster and plenty of travelling that he admits has become an addiction.
Before joining the Globetrekker team, Sami’s career had already covered a few very successful stints on radio as a DJ, the presenters job on South Africa’s version of Pop Idol and numerous travel shows (his latest independent project being a 62-day road trip from Dakar to Cape Town with his wife Melony) to name a few.
Sami has an adventurous personality but says he’s beginning to calm down a little. “I guess I’ll end up pushing pencils somewhere someday”, he says after recalling some recent adventures. Sami has ridden camels across deserts, trekked ice fields, parachuted, driven dirt bikesacross the African bush, and dived with manta rays and great white sharks.
Sami admits that his life is in a constant state of flux. “I’m either leaving some place or arriving. I blame my parents”, he says with a cheeky grin. When he’s not gallivanting Sami likes to play music, read books, watch football and daydream. “I like the one where I imagine hanging out with Bjork in Brazil. It always ends with a song.”
“Well that’s a tough one. I’m no good with favourites but if I had to pick then it would be Cape Town because my wife is from Cape Town and we go there often to see the family and chill out. They have the best of everything down there.”
“What do you call it when you’re stuck at sea for the whole day with no food and it’s cold, windy and the waves are rough and all you can smell is the stench of rotting fish and every once in a while someone yells out ‘SHARK!’ and you have to dive into a small cage and get hammered by the freezing water for the umpteenth time?” I know there’s a word for it.
Good food bad food
“In Venda I was treated to a plate of Mopane worms at the village we stayed at. I thought I’d hate them but they’re not as bad as they sound. In fact they were pretty tasty.” Sami admits that he does have his limits when it comes to food. “I was once asked to ingest the insides of a recently slaughtered animal of some kind by the village elder on a visit through northern Cameroon and I simply cannot eat liver so I refused.on camera! Luckily my wife (she’ll eat anything) dug right in and loved it. Does that make me a bad person?”
Sami believes in the spiritual importance of “seeing the world beyond your borders” and says that he’s always encouraging his friends to travel the world. “I always feel sorry for people that don’t see the point of travelling especially people I know”, he says. “To travel is not just about seeing cool places, it’s an open invitation to connect with people in a meaningful way, it’s hard to articulate it really but I guess for me travel is about being open. A lot of good can come from people being more open.”
Go to a wrestling match in Dakar. See the ancient manuscripts in Timbuktu. Pull an all nighter in Douala. Swim with dolphins in Mozambique. Get lost in New York.
See Africa. It’ll change your life.